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Multi-Unit Dwelling (MUD)
If you want to own an electric vehicle and live in a multi-unit dwelling (MUD) such as an apartment, townhouse, or condominium, you may wish to install charging equipment. To do so, you will need to work with the property association and/or management as well as a licensed electrician. If you are renting, you likely will also need to consult the unit owner. Consider the following steps:
Step 1: Understand Your Options and Electrical Requirements
Contact your property association and/or management to discuss installation of a charger, ownership of equipment, how payment will be handled, and how common area elements may be affected (if at all).
Some questions to initially consider:
- What, if any, parts of the owners association governing documents pertain to this installation?
- Who will own and maintain the charger(s)?
- Who will select and hire the necessary licensed contractor(s) to perform the work?
- Who will pay for the installation of the charger(s) and any required electrical upgrades?
- Who will pay for the electricity used to charge the EV(s) and how will payments be made?
- What will happen if the owner of the EV moves out or ceases to own an EV?
- What are the terms and conditions for the removal of resident-owned charger(s)?
- Where will the charger(s) be located?
- What, if any, common area elements are affected and how?
- How many present or prospective EV owners live in the building?
- What is the best charging system? What level of charger and how many charge spots will be useful at present and in the future?
There are three basic options for EV charger ownership.
- Option 1: Individually owned and used by tenant Under this option, the tenant works with the property owner to understand how a charging station may be installed at your stall and how electricity may be billed. The tenant may use the building's electric service under agreement with the property owner, or be billed by Hawaiian Electric.
- Option 2: Shared charging station owned by the property owner(s) Under this option, one or more shared charging stations installed in a common area for tenant use is owned by the property owner. The property manager may connect the charging station to an existing service panel, a new service panel, or under a new electric service. The property owner may set a fee for use.
- Option 3: Shared charging station owned by a third party Some electrical vehicle charging companies may provide, install, and/or operate a charging station. Under this option, the EV charging company will reach an agreement with the property owner. Often, the EV charging company will bill the EV drivers for use and reimburse the property manager for the cost of electricity.
Understanding electrical requirements and costs, especially for a large building, may require the assistance of an electrical design consultant. A licensed contractor will also be required to perform the necessary electrical and structural work for installing the charging station(s). It's a good idea to get cost estimates or bids from several consultants and contractors. If electrical service upgrades are required, the selected contractor will work with Hawaiian Electric on upgrade options, as well as with the county building department on obtaining required permits.
Step 2: Consult a certified electrician
Customers may charge with a Level 1 charging cord if a standard grounded outlet is installed at their parking stall. The quicker Level 2 charging station will require installation or a charging unit and/or a dryer outlet. Every building is different and the electrical expenses must be considered. Your contractor will need to obtain a permit for electrical work.
Some things to consider:
- Installation costs are generally more expensive the further the charge station is from the electrical service panel.
- Installing electrical wiring through walls or underground will increase costs.
- Purchasing and installing faster Level 2 charging is generally more expensive than Level 1.
Step 3: Select Rate or Payment Option
Several electric rate options may be considered for multi-unit dwellings. In all cases, we recommend that you consult with a qualified design engineer or a licensed electrical contractor to determine which approach will be most cost-effective and compatible with your building’s existing infrastructure.
Option 1: Tenant owned charging station billed under tenant's existing utility account
If it is feasible to connect the charging station to your utility meter, you will be billed for EV charging under your current utility bill and on your current residential rate. This option is only available for tenants who have their own Hawaiian Electric account and utility meter. Multi-unit buildings where building electricity consumption is billed on a single master Hawaiian Electric meter will not be eligible to pursue Option 1.
Option 2: Tenant owned charging station under separately metered EV charging account
In some cases, it may not be feasible to connect a charging station from your parking stall to your unit’s utility meter. For example, your utility meter may be far from your parking stall, or you may not have your own Hawaiian Electric account and utility meter for your residential unit. In these cases, you may wish to install a separate meter for EV charging only and be billed on a separate account. To do so, you will need to work with a licensed electrical contractor, and will need to submit a Service Request for a new service through Hawaiian Electric’s Customer Interconnection Tool. For this new service, you may be eligible to enroll in Hawaiian Electric’s EV-specific rate schedule, Schedule EV-J, or in Hawaiian Electric’s standard commercial service, Schedule G.
Option 3: Tenant owned charging station billed under the property’s existing utility account
In this option, electricity is supplied to your EV charging station from an existing service panel billed through the building’s common area meter, which is paid by the property owner/association. In this case, there is no need for new rate enrollment and residents may start using the charger once installation is complete. Electricity will be billed at the property’s existing commercial rate. The property owner/association may charge a fee for using the EV charger to cover electricity costs, or may sub-meter the EV charger to measure electricity usage. Fees may be handled directly by the property owner/association, or through an account with a third party. Be sure to work closely with your association or building management to obtain all necessary approvals.
For more information, please contact Hawaiian Electric’s Electrification of Transportation Team at GoEV@hawaiianelectric.com.
Please see the Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center for additional information about EV charging for multi-unit dwellings.